What is the largest annual event held at a convention center?
July 26, 2010 3:01 PM   Subscribe

What is the largest annual event held at a convention center?

I was thinking it was Comic-Con in San Diego California, and my friend countered that it might be CES in Las Vegas. Both seem to have purported attendances greater than 100,000.

I was hoping to find a reliable source of information with a nice list of large conventions and the attendance numbers (maybe broken out with number of people per day of a multiday event?) but can't find one.

So what are the largest conventions and where are they held?

I'm saying annual because a one-off event, or an event that moves is sort of a different animal. Big events that stay put are of interest to a local economy and if they move there's real pain associated with them. I'm wondering if there are organizations that rival CES or Comic-Con in size that we simply can't think of

Also, we were only concerned about USA, but information about events all over the planet are also of interest. If all the largest top 10 events are outside the US, then a list of the top events in the US would also be great.
posted by artlung to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, even just off the top of my head + quick glance at Wikipedia tells me that the Comic Market in Japan had an attendance of approx. 560,000 in summer 2009.
posted by misozaki at 3:18 PM on July 26, 2010

The New York International Auto show at Jacob Javits Center claims an attendance of 1.2 million in 2007.
posted by cazoo at 3:23 PM on July 26, 2010

Which got me thinking, the Beijing Auto show apparently set a record at approx. 800,000 visitors this year. On preview, well, that's still not as much as the New York one.
posted by misozaki at 3:29 PM on July 26, 2010

I can't seem to find any attendance numbers, but the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place touts itself as the largest and highest attended auto show in the United States, so that could put it over the 1.2 mil of New York.
posted by hwyengr at 3:35 PM on July 26, 2010

The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg, Pa. hosts the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show, which draws between 400,000 and 500,000 visitors.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:36 PM on July 26, 2010

CeBIT in Germany at one point used to be considered the largest industry trade event with an exhibition area of roughly 5 million square feet and up to 700,000 visitors.
posted by ericb at 3:50 PM on July 26, 2010

Here in the States COMDEX was in earlier years (1979 to 2003) was considered "by many accounts one of the largest trade shows in any industry sector."
posted by ericb at 3:53 PM on July 26, 2010

Response by poster: So New York International Auto Show is a 10 day event with attendance of 1.2 million, so roughly 120,000 a day. Comic-Con is approximately 125k over 4 days, so roughly 31k per day? Though many people attend events over multiple days.

I wonder if I should have asked for which Convention Centers can support the largest number of people at any one time.

Great info so far though! Particularly about Comiket, which sounds huge.
posted by artlung at 4:19 PM on July 26, 2010

Jazz Fest in New Orleans records an event high of 650,000 with a one-day highest attendance of 160,000. Even with dips in attendance following 2001 and Hurricane Katrina, the numbers have crept up since the beginning in the 1970's. The primary venue is the Fairgrounds race track with an amazing list of performances at all types of places all over town. It was created by George Wein who ran the Newport Jazz Festival. Perhaps events like this are candidates for your list.
posted by Anitanola at 6:18 PM on July 26, 2010

My apologies; I totally missed the convention center specification.
posted by Anitanola at 6:49 PM on July 26, 2010

The Chicago Auto Show in 1999 had released attendance records here:

That seems to be the highest number so far in the thread.

I can't find any after 2001...terrists reasons or something maybe.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:01 PM on July 26, 2010

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